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Mission: The mission of the Rochester Oratorio Society is to produce live choral music of the highest quality, engaging and educating our community in numerous musical genres, and gratifying our volunteer singers with the professionalism of their art. Vision Statement: Our vision as a professional choral group is to provide our audience a consistently superior and pleasingly unique artistic experience that will inspire their attendance and support. We expect to be regarded as the premier choral group among our peers, noted not only for the quality of our music, but also for our engagement with the community in our art and educational outreach.
The Rochester Oratorio Society, founded in 1945, is the leading choral/orchestral ensemble in Rochester, New York, and the surrounding seven-county region. Comprising approximately 145 auditioned, adult members, the ROS presents two to four performances of masterworks for chorus and orchestra from the 18th-21st centuries. The ROS has offered the local premieres of monumental works, such as the Berlioz Requiem and Britten’s War Requiem, and many performances of Handel’s Messiah, under the direction of founder Theodore Hollenbach and successors Roger Wilhelm and Eric Townell. The ROS has performed concert tours to Italy, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and China; performed a live, one-hour televised concert for WXXI’s "Voices" series; collaborated with the region’s finest vocalists, instrumentalists, ensembles and artists in other disciplines; commissioned and premiered major works; hosted choirs from Canada and from major cities in the U.S.; appeared regionally in concert venues on college campuses, in performing arts centers and churches, and initiated a solo vocal competition of national stature which continues to this day. Following an acclaimed performance of Handel’s Messiah in 2012 with the RPO under Eric Townell, the ROS was engaged for three performances for the 2013-14 season. A further four RPO performances followed in the 2014-15 season, including the first choral engagement in Rochester with incoming Music Director, Ward Stare. The relationship continues through scheduled performances in 2018, 2019 and beyond.